‘Cyber Security Bill to curb Internet abuse’ – Mutodi

Energy Mutodi
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Government believes the Cybercrime and Cyber Security Bill will combat cybercrimes when it becomes law.

This was said by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Energy Mutodi on Thursday during question and answer session in the Senate, while responding to a question from president of the Chiefs Council, Senator Fortune Charumbira, who wanted to know what Government was doing to minimise abuse of social media by some uncouth citizens.

Cybercrimes are on the rise in the country due to a surge in broadband penetration, with statistics from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) showing that mobile Internet and data utilisation rose by 15,7 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

The Information ministry is working together with the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in coming up with the Cyber Security Bill to nip cybercrime in the bud. He said unscrupulous citizens were creating fake social media accounts which are being used to circulate falsehoods and defame top politicians.

“We have fake Twitter and WhatsApp accounts . . . some of them have been used by criminals who use the accounts to defraud unsuspecting members of the public. We are in the process of coming up with a Cyber Security Bill which concentrates on this,” said Deputy Minister Mutodi.

Deputy Minister Mutodi said the Bill will plug loopholes that people have been exploiting to disseminate false information and tarnish others’ images. “The Bill will also address some behaviour that seeks to infringe on the rights of other people such spreading of nude pictures or any information that will tarnish a person’s image,” he said.

An unknown person recently created a Twitter account in Chief Charumbira’s name and was in the habit of publishing falsehoods.

Zimbabwe National Liberation and War Veterans Association chairman Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, also dissociated himself from a Twitter account that was spreading malice.

However, Deputy Minister Mutodi said although the Bill will seek to deal with online malcontents, there would be limitations as the constitution guarantees freedom of expression and research. He also cautioned that it would be difficult to apprehend culprits since some crimes are being committed by people in other countries.